Application of lactic acid bacteria in removing heavy metals and aflatoxin B1 from contaminated water

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In this study selected lactic acid bacteria (LAB, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantrium and Streptococcus thermophiles) and probiotic bacteria (Bifidobacterium angulatum) were tested for their ability in removing heavy metals (HM) including cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and arsenic (As) as well as aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) from contaminated water. The biosorption parameters (pH, bacterial concentration, contact time and temperature) of removal using individual as well as mixed LAB and probiotic bacteria were studied. Removal of HM and AFB1 depended on the strain, wherein the process was strongly pH-dependent with high removal ability at a pH close to neutral. The increase in bacterial concentration enhanced the removal of Cd, Pb and As. Also, increasing of contact time and temperature increased the ability of LAB to remove HM. The effect of contact time on Cd removal was slightly different when freshly cultured cells were used. The removal of Cd, Pb and As decreased with the increase in the initial metal concentration. The most effective HM removers were Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium angulatum. The system was found to be adequate for concentrations of HM under investigation. At the end of the operation, the concentration of HM reached the level allowed by the World Health Organization regulations.

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